The Lotus Tree Literary Review, Autumn 2022 (issue #1)

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25 | Poetry & Art by Carla Stein



The ones who spoke with first-born oaks

cherished yarrow                       gathered goldenrod

brewed camomile                      lemon balm

Tatik bedtime-stories         

mix screams and ash with          skin and fat

                          smoulder           on sandalwood pyres 

an incense faint with roses and wrinkles

                                                                  adrift upon unwritten nightmares

eons spill brujas martyred       maimed             

                                       atoms quicken         oak leaves to

      immortal embers

                                             their kin in primeval bellies

gush pyroclastics         

                                    bubble igneous blood

                give form to obsidian lineages    

                                                            granite lives 

hewn, harrowed in ignorance                     mix in the hard sweat of a fevered planet

Etna, Erebus, Sakurajima recite burnt-bone parables   

  Merapi hisses deeply         amniotic fluid boils             rises in suffocating paeans

           Kīlauea leaches roses and wrinkles               

                                                                     fractures geography   

                                                                                                   rebuilds the world


Beauty acknowledged you
made immortal promises
love sustained, sheltered, only by Beauty —
her solitary alabaster arms wrapped
you in honey-ed air
unbound a sexless silken veil
as you fed on her island illusions

Beauty’s warmth and Beauty’s smile —
her fruits ripening forever
the table piled with pledges while
Beauty spoke her truth
made you a lie
gave you a world and
took your freedom


all winter I watched
them wither,
heads bowing deeper
with each snowfall

they grew more quickly than
the corn we planted —
lacked proportion, a
parody of our emotions

today their frost-burned tops
rattle in a spring-scented wind

in my hand fresh seed packets
foretell a crop of daydreams
in a summer cornfield

Carla Stein

Carla Stein’s illustrations appear in chapbooks, on walls and on-line including The BelladonnaStonecoast ReviewFriday’s PoemsIsland Arts MagazineLemonspouting and others. She’s in the garden when not making art or writing and illustrating her own poetry. Click on the artist link to find more of Carla’s work.